Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services

HYStat smart technology opened Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services eyes to the downtime-prevention power of a system that’s always on the alert for trouble. It also brought the comfort and energy efficiency they were looking for.

Project Name and Location:

Cothrom Risk & Insurance Services
2300 NE 9th Street, Suite 3
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Cothram-Case-Study

Client/Owner Contact:

Jordan Gillespie Partner
(754) 312-5408

Project Status:

Ongoing
Cothrom
Risk & Insurance Services

Project Scope:

As a rising insurance and risk management agency for a wide range of industries, Fort Lauderdale-based Cothrom knows the value of reducing losses and expenses by analyzing data. So when they had the chance to take better control of comfort and operating costs at their office by switching to a data-driven A/C monitoring service, they eagerly made the jump to Hill York’s HYStat.

With the agency in growth mode, HYStat’s smartphone app was an instant highlight. The remote connectivity and feature-rich functionality enabled an expanding team of partners who were working different schedules to easily view and change settings and manage office comfort levels outside of normal business hours.

As Hill York’s team of analysts monitored performance from a network operations center, Cothrom also saw the kind of data-driven communication they emphasize in serving their own clients. The upgrade to HYStat shed light on specific adjustments to enhance staff comfort, stabilize system performance, and generate cost reductions and efficiency gains. After the first full year under the HYStat program, Cothrom received a summary showing high marks for equipment performance despite its physical condition. The report did point out that a unit as old as theirs is vulnerable to breakdown.

“Giving Cothrom a data-based method to evaluate risks, make informed decisions and get a higher return on investment was something that closely mirrored their own service model,” said Hill York Senior Analyst Chris Hamilton. “That’s the heart of HYStat’s appeal – true predictive maintenance that contains costs, facilitates capital budgeting, and keeps unpleasant surprises from clouding an otherwise positive business outlook.”

Fatefully, it was a rapidly unfolding situation that prodded Cothrom’s management to fully embrace the technology. A small refrigerant leak in an outside air conditioning unit quickly grew, causing the system to freeze up during a hot spring day. The HYStat thermostat and sensors feeding live data to Hill York’s analysts detected a decline in cooling efficiency 24 hours before the leak became critical. An automated alert was issued and a call was made to Cothrom communicating the danger signs.

“Unfortunately, we put off service thinking we could just clean up the closet and it would all be fine,” acknowledged Jordan Gillespie, a partner at Cothrom. “The result was a broken unit and two days of downtime that created a very uncomfortable 82-degree office.”

Using HYStat’s remote capabilities before traveling to the site, a Hill York technician diagnosed the problem within 15 minutes of arriving and confirmed the need to replace the older unit.

“Our take-away from that experience was to believe in the analytical power of the technology to catch problems early and avoid unnecessary downtime,” observed Gillespie. “That’s why we invested in HYStat in the first place – data-rich remote monitoring backed by the professionalism of the Hill York team.”

In providing greater insight into their indoor climate and costs, HYStat supplies a power that’s putting Cothrom on very familiar ground: Being in control and able to analyze risks to make smart business decisions now and over the long term.

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Hill York’s HYStat Monitoring Helps ANF Group, Inc. Enjoy Surprise-Free A/C

ANF-Group-ArticleAs one of South Florida’s leading general contracting and construction management companies, ANF Group, Inc., has more pressing things to think about than their own air conditioning system. So when Hill York told this longtime industry partner about the benefits of HYStat smart technology monitoring, ANF saw a chance to put their cooling system on cruise control.

Now, a year after the install, the promise of predictive, data-based A/C monitoring has more than lived up to its potential. The  installation of four HYStat thermostats on the rooftop package units of ANF Group’s Davie headquarters has stabilized performance, maximized energy management, and taken surprises out of the equation.

“From an information and communication point of view, HYStat has empowered us to stay a step ahead of cooling system issues and basic preventative maintenance,” said ANF Group, Inc. Contract Administrator Viki Moore. “With real-time data notifications from both the program and our contacts at Hill York, we’re never left in the dark about system performance, utility costs, or even when it’s time to change the filters.”

According to Hill York Senior Analyst Chris Hamilton, ANF Group, Inc’s monitoring and service upgrade to HYStat from a traditional maintenance contract has been a study in data-driven peace of mind.

“ANF’s rooftop systems are seven years old – more than halfway through the normal lifecycle,” he observed. “It’s reassuring to see that the key data confirms the equipment performance, runtime, and physical condition are all on track and going strong. If anything  changes down the line, they’ll be able to plan smart maintenance and capital decisions with the data provided.” Until then, ANF Group, Inc. is happy to enjoy the surprise-free comfort and control that HYStat’s analytical power makes possible. After all, when you’re out building some of South Florida’s most prominent education and healthcare facilities, it’s nice to know you have the perfect climate for cooling off back at the office.

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Thermostat Wars: What’s Best For Your Business?

The lowest hanging fruit for potential energy and dollar savings in a home or office is your thermostat. On average, 10% in energy savings can be saved by dialing back an AC system’s temperatures by around 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day. Doing this setback manually can be a hassle so there are different styles of thermostats to make it as easy as possible to realize savings; we look at programmable, connected, and smart thermostat’s below.

Programmable Thermostats

The most common thermostats are programmable. These have the ability to set a simple temperature schedule for a home or business based upon the day and time. This allows for a set temperature during business hours and a temperature setback during vacant hours. One of the issues of a programmable thermostat is their complexity. Knowing this, reading the manual and completing a proper set up are required to ensure energy and dollar savings.

Connected Thermostats

Newer to the scene are connected thermostats. These thermostats have all the features of a programmable thermostat with the ability to connect to the internet. Connected thermostats usually come with smartphone applications or a web portals to adjust temperatures and set schedules in real time, essentially solving any usability issues. The positioning of connected thermostats in the marketplace is as a bridge from programmable to smart thermostat’s.  This can benefit them as they offer ease of use but lack many of the new features consumers want such as learning algorithms, alerting, and enterprise solutions.

Smart Thermostats

In addition to having all the abilities of connected thermostats, smart thermostats feature additional sensors and built-in algorithms to manage runtime, energy use, and personal comfort. Common sensors on smart thermostats include: ambient temperature from multiple spaces, humidity, sunlight, outside weather, and occupancy. True value of the sensors is realized through the algorithms embedded in the thermostat firmware that learns habits, comfort levels, and schedules to keep a space comfortable while minimizing the HVAC runtime. Smart thermostats have higher upfront costs and are designed for residential applications.

HYStat

If you are a business owner looking for the best thermostat, turn to the connected thermostat from Hill York; HYStat. We monitor your systems 24/7 and apply our own algorithms to the data from the multitude of sensors installed to prevent condensate overflows and system downtime. In addition, we have a proven track record of energy savings after installation. Whether you want to have a thermostat that brings peace of mind or a thermostat that puts you in charge of saving money on maintenance and energy, HYStat is the best thermostat for your business.

New River Fine Art

New-River-Fine-Arts-panoramic-view

Hill York’s partnership with property managers brought the comfort and energy saving benefits of HYStat smart technology to businesses along downtown Fort Lauderdale’s historic Las Olas shopping and dining hub. The prestigious New River Fine Art gallery on Las Olas Boulevard is one example of the impact of modern A/C monitoring innovation.

Project Name and Location:

New River Fine Art
914 East Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Client/Owner Contact:

Lisa Burgess
Owner

Project Scope:

Las Olas Boulevard has a long history as downtown Fort Lauderdale’s signature street, offering upscale dining, shopping and cultural experiences. To make its future as bright as its past, a new vision to turn the street into a destination with fresh appeal for millennials and others is gaining momentum.

Property managers are focused on raising the area’s profile as a must-visit destination and a place where world class tenants feel at home. That commitment to provide the very best tenant environment prompted them to join forces with Hill York. The Mission: To harness new technology to increase tenant comfort, cut energy costs, and save money on HVAC maintenance and capital budgeting.

The initiative was founded on a more responsive alternative to A/C maintenance contracts – a remote monitoring service that Hill York launched called HYStat. After gathering information from tenants and analyzing the equipment in their spaces, Hill York installed HYStat smart
technology thermostats to monitor cooling systems and feed data back to their network operations center.

For New River Fine Art owner Lisa Burgess, heading off the damaging effects of possible condensate leaks on one-of-a-kind artwork was the main motivation for embracing the HYStat program. The substantial cost reductions and energy efficiency gains were a pleasant bonus.
In 2016, the first full year under the HYStat monitoring program, the gallery saved an average of 16% a month over the previous year’s energy spending, which is helping counteract FPL electric rate increases moving forward.

“Like many other Las Olas businesses that benefited from our 24/7 monitoring, real-time data and fast-response A/C service, HYStat really empowered the gallery to gain greater control over their indoor climate and costs,” explained Hill York’s Bob Lafferty. “Plus, they went from an old thermostat with no scheduling ability to one where they have remote access with a user friendly smart phone app to view and change settings and set schedules from anywhere.”

For an image conscious business like New River Fine Art, providing a higher standard of comfort for special events like lectures, exhibits and
VIP receptions is especially important.

“Staff and client comfort, more reliable system performance, and the scheduling control of remote access are some of the many benefits we’re enjoying,” noted gallery owner Burgess. “When we have gallery events outside of normal business hours, the new service platform ensures that everyone experiences complete comfort without our having to overspend on utility costs.”

As for the energy improvements, the early results are likely a preview of things to come. With Hill York’s HYStat engineers and data analysts monitoring performance on an ongoing basis, they’re able to make recommendations that will generate cost reductions over the long haul.

“For the first time in HVAC history, we have a data-driven service that facilitates capital budgeting and true predictive maintenance instead of relying on system age or a calendar,” Lafferty observed. “This showcases HYStat’s ability to replace expensive maintenance contracts with a cost-effective monitoring program that delivers service when it’s needed and a year-round return on investment.”

As a new wave of tenants seeks the prestige of a Las Olas address, energy efficient comfort backed by advanced technology will be one more
attraction of a landmark destination’s allure.

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Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Florida

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to look at the projects that need to be accomplished at your home and business. When making decisions on which projects you complete and how you are going to pay for them, don’t forget to look into clean energy financing as one of your options.

In the tri-county area of South Florida, we have the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program available to us. Through property-based financing, PACE Florida alleviates the financial hurdles facing owners wanting to make sustainable upgrades to their property. Below are the top 3 reasons why the PACE program might be for you.

Zero Cost Upfront: The upfront costs of sustainability projects like energy efficiency, renewable energy, or wind mitigation can be daunting and limiting. PACE was created to remove that upfront cost barrier and allow anyone to make positive changes to their businesses and homes. The private lender pays the initial cost of the projects, which is then repaid over a 5-25 year period as a line item on your property taxes. In order to qualify with Ygrene, one of the PACE program lenders, you need:

  • 10% equity in your home,
  • To be current on your mortgage payments,
  • Not currently be in bankruptcy, and
  • To have not been late on your property taxes in the last three years.

Hundreds of Projects: Selecting projects to tackle through PACE financing can be a difficult decision because there are so many possible improvements to choose from. Examples of qualifying projects are high efficiency air conditioners, kitchen appliances, and LED lighting as well as new roofing, hurricane impact windows, insulation, solar panels, and water efficient fixtures and landscaping.

More Savings: The most tangible benefits that come from completing a sustainability project through PACE are how easy they are to complete, they raise your property’s value, lower utility bills, and reduce your insurance costs. In some cases, the savings you receive from updating your home or business will more than make up the amount of the loan attached to your property taxes. Every month that you have new, more energy efficient equipment is more money to be used how you see fit. In addition, because these upgrades mitigate risk to your home or business, you can see reductions in your insurance.

There are many ways to fund green and energy efficient projects. Having the PACE program available to use in South Florida is one of the best ways to make investments into your property and your pocket book.  For more information visit one of the local PACE program lenders or the Florida PACE informational site.

Buildings ‘get smart’ to improve comfort, save money, and reduce energy use

Today’s economy is one run by consumers and participants having unlimited information at their fingertips at all times.  This on-demand economy has brought smart technology and data analytics into all facets of business today.  The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released a report discussing how smart buildings upgrades are catching up to this new trend.  Among many other findings, they spoke to the energy saving potential that the South region of the United States has when it comes to smart heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for commercial buildings.

Making much more data and information available to a building operator is driving efficiency in large and small buildings all over the country.  Whereas a smart building with integrated systems can realize 30-50% savings, individual components can be added to small and medium businesses and save 5-15% with little money upfront.  HVAC technologies like smart thermostats, sensors, variable frequency drives, and cloud based energy information systems have huge potential for savings in Florida where HVAC use in commercial buildings accounts for over 50% of electricity consumption, which is significantly above the national average. A study referenced in the ACEEE report proved that rooftop package units installed with smart thermostat controls, multi-fan speeds, and demand control ventilation can save approximately 50% in electricity savings.

With the addition of the aforementioned smart controllers and sensors, real time data analytics can give visibility to a unit’s operating efficiency by the minute.  This advanced assessment of a building gives the operator an unprecedented look into run-time and efficiency so that nothing is wasted.  Hill York has been working with these new smart building solutions for more than 8 years with our Alerton and HYStat controls for large and small commercial buildings, respectively.  Seeing reports from the country’s leading energy efficiency minds further validates what Hill York has been advocating for years; smarter buildings make efficient buildings, which fuel smart businesses.

 

8 Ways to Leverage Your FPL Account

Some of the best resources to help businesses save money and energy are through the utility companies; and Florida has a shining example with Florida Power & Light (FPL).  Two reasons to take advantage of such programs are the energy savings and the fact that, as a ratepayer, you are helping fund the programs through fees on your utility bills. Since you are already paying for rebates, why not make sure that you reap the energy savings benefits? Below are the top 8 programs and rebates that you can implement in your business through Florida Power & Light.

Business Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program

Replace your existing A/C unit or chiller with a qualifying, high-efficiency system and receive a rebate check from FPL. In addition to your rebate savings, the new systems will be more energy efficient and save you money; it literally pays for itself.

Demand Control Ventilation (DCV)

Control your building’s ventilation based off of occupancy to save your business energy and improve indoor air quality at the same time. Installation of a DCV sensor allows your building to adjust the amount of fresh air you are letting in depending on the occupancy, making sure your building is as efficient and cost saving as possible.

Business Custom Incentives (BCI)

An organization or business can upgrade their business equipment to be more energy efficient and receive a check from FPL. Upgrades that save over 25 kWh and meets other requirements detailed here, will qualify for the check and save money.

Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

Storing energy at night relieves energy demand during the day and helps FPL maintain the grid so they incentivise this. Using a TES system also reduces the runtime of your systems, which increases their lifespan and efficiency. Hill York successfully implemented one of the largest ice storage facilities in the United States at Nova Southeastern University central energy plant.

Commercial Demand Reduction Program

By adding a load management device to HVAC systems, businesses can receive a monthly rebate. This device will, in the event of high demand times for the utility, turn your system off and on to help reduce the overall load on the energy grid.

On Call® Program

Similar to the Commercial Demand Reduction Program, the On Call program will occasionally shut off your HVAC system during peak months to reduce the load on the grid. You can save $2 per ton on systems that are enrolled.

Power Monitoring Service

When the power goes out, it can be costly for your business.  FPL helps you minimize that costly down-time by continually monitoring your business for any power interruptions through a small device that immediately notifies the utility. Check out the FPL’s website for several case studies.

Business Energy Evaluation Plan

An FPL “Energy Expert” can help customize an energy savings plan for your business’ specific needs. This energy evaluation will look at everything from your lighting systems to your HVAC to your building envelope in order to find a plan that will best fit your needs.

These are just some of the savings opportunities through FPL that enable you to invest in what’s really important to your business. Hill York has a dedicated personnel team that can facilitate these rebates and better help you save money, energy, and time.  In order to learn more about these programs or find out specifics about qualifications, please visit this brochure page or contact one of our knowledgeable Hill York Team members.

Hill York Broward Office Renovations Breathe New Life Into Historic Space

An interior renovation of Hill York’s main office in Fort Lauderdale is in full bloom this spring as a graceful merger of historic past and next-generation future takes shape. The ongoing project is focused on converting the older building into a contemporary flex-space environment that enhances collaboration and reflects our brand and culture as a high-tech leader in commercial air conditioning and energy solutions.

The renovation and remodeling of the office in Broward involves upgrading and reconfiguring space for improved function and efficiency. The interior design features include modified open work stations, advanced technology dispatching, and tech-friendly collaboration space.

As part of the remodeling work, new flooring and freshly painted walls are prominent throughout the office, along with sleek LED lighting fixtures in about a quarter of the space so far. To enhance energy efficiency, all existing fluorescent T8 light fixtures will eventually be replaced with the LED lights. At completion, the upgrade is expected to deliver an over 50 percent reduction in lighting energy consumption and move Hill York closer to a performance rating of 75 or above – the first step towards achieving Energy Star certification.

Along with energy smart upgrades that promote sustainability, Hill York has brought a conservation mentality to all aspect of operations, streamlining space, equipment and supplies. The approach has  found its way into a warehouse and pipe shop adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale office where state-of-the-art equipment, tools and inventory systems have created a lighter, leaner and safer way of working. Plans call for similar renovations to the West Palm Beach office.

While far from over, the comprehensive changes have already produced big benefits, reinforcing a collaborative atmosphere and promoting greater teamwork across all business units.

“We have a 60 plus year history in Broward County and this building’s been our hub through six decades of growth and innovation,” said Chip Lafferty. “We have a company culture that’s based on making life more comfortable for people. This update gives our team the comfort and flexibility to work together and accomplish great things in this location for many years to come.”

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Hill York and Alerton Put Florida Clients In Command With Open Protocol Building Control Systems

Alerton Logo(FLORIDA) Hill York, Florida’s leading commercial air conditioning company, and Alerton, an innovative manufacturer of building control systems, have teamed up to give Florida facility owners the power to create more comfortable environments while reducing energy use.

Since joining Alerton’s global network of more than 150 dealers last year, Hill York has increased its controls offerings in South Florida’s tri-county region. There, the company is authorized to sell and implement Alerton and other manufacturer building control systems for clients needing support with new construction, retrofit, service and energy management projects.

“We share Alerton’s commitment to help clients get the best comfort and energy performance out of their buildings,” said Rob Pulsifer, Hill York Vice President – Building Solutions. “Giving building owners the flexibility to harness new and improved control technologies utilizing an open communication platform is an empowering advantage for them and a strategic growth area for us.”

Alerton introduced the first complete BACnet control system, the building industry’s ASHRAE, ANSI, and ISO 16484-5 standard protocol. The BACnet communications protocol for building automation and control networks provides easy integration of HVAC controls with other building devices. These include meters, third- party equipment, and systems such as access, security, lighting, and fire/life safety.

With a long track record of leadership in helping Florida building owners improve comfort and energy management, Hill York’s in-house expertise includes Alerton-certified controls engineers and Alerton-trained field technicians with over 20 years of experience. The team has installed and integrated many control systems from leading manufacturers, including Johnson Controls, Siemens, Honeywell and Trend. Since partnering with Alerton, Hill York has implemented systems for such diverse Florida clients as:

  • ADP
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)
  • Dadeland Surgical Center
  • Boca Corporate Center & Campus
  • Salvation Army
  • Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
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“Integrating building control systems brings everything into one manageable, expanding platform to meet the needs of clients well into the future,” Pulsifer noted. “With the integration Hill York and Alerton provides, the systems can be engineered to communicate through a common web-based interface, even across multiple buildings.”

For Florida building owners and facilities managers, the Hill York – Alerton alliance provides the ultimate control system payback: Maximum performance for a minimal up-front cost with a single platform that supports easier operation and less staff training.


Founded in 1981, Alerton is a pioneer and industry leader in providing building control systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment for all types and sizes of buildings. They have led the way in developing products based on a standard open communication protocol to give facility owners and managers flexibility in their building solutions. For more information, visit www.alerton.com.

A full-service commercial air conditioning company, Hill York provides energy efficient solutions for the installation, maintenance, and repair of a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida. For more information, visit www.hillyork.com.

Download: October 15 | Hill York and Alerton Put Florida Clients In Command With Open Protocol Building Control Systems | Press Release PDF

March 15 | Hill York Helps Energy Grant Hopefuls Win Funding, Retrofit Facilities

A long-time partner with Florida building owners in cutting energy use and boosting operating efficiency, Hill York has recently proven to be an able ally in getting results for state energy grant candidates.

Only four of the 25 applicants for Florida’s Energy Efficient Retrofits for Public Facilities Grant Program have been awarded full funding. Hill York co-authored the grant submissions for two of them.

“Enhancing efficiency and reducing operating costs requires expertise in many technical areas,” said Rob Pulsifer, Hill York’s vice president of energy solutions. “With our convergence of services strategy, we look at everything that can influence efficiency and write the grant application from a foundation of complete facility knowledge and project planning insight. We’re now three for three in grant writing, so our track record speaks for itself.”

Hill York’s approach was a formula for success in winning the full $75,000 in available grant funds for both the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale and the Salvation Army of Palm Beach County. The Coral Ridge Church project involves a comprehensive energy efficiency program that encompasses new HVAC equipment, repaired insulation, and a new energy management system. The Salvation Army work calls for the implementation of energy management systems at multiple facilities.

“The convergence of services provided by our energy solutions team encompasses benchmarking, building analysis, project development, construction and implementation, and continuous monitoring of building systems,” noted Pulsifer. “It’s been the key to achieving big gains in long-term energy savings and facility efficiency for many of our public and private sector customers.”

As announced recently by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam, the Hill York projects are two of only 18 around the state awarded grants to retrofit public buildings for enhanced energy efficiency.

“Improving energy efficiency in buildings used by the public will save energy and save taxpayer dollars,” Putnam pointed out.

Qualifying projects include replacing indoor lighting, insulation upgrades, replacement of HVAC units and ducts, and installation of energy management systems. The grant program is funded under the State Energy Program with approximately $1.1 million allocated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A full-service commercial air conditioning company, Hill York provides system maintenance, service, repairs, energy solutions and installation for a wide range of heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Founded in 1936, the company serves the state of Florida.

Download: March 15 | Hill York Helps Energy Grant Hopefuls Win Funding, Retrofit Facilities | Press Release PDF